Vacations have gone to the dogs and cats; nearly a quarter of polled readers take their pets with them, when they travel -
In addition, 36.4 percent have a friend or relative watch their pet, 20.3 percent board their pet in a kennel/hotel, 15.1 percent hire a pet-sitter, and 4.4 percent leave their pet at home alone.
"For many pet owners, traveling with their pet is an appealing option," said Dr. Carol McConnell, director of veterinary education for VPI. "People worry about their four-legged family member and want to make sure that their pet receives the best possible care. Pet owners may feel guilty if they leave their pet at home or at a boarding kennel, especially since being separated can cause some pets to become overly stressed."
As an increasing number of people decide to fly with Fido, more hotel chains are providing pet-friendly accommodations. Some hotels offer pet amenities such as pet beds, toys, treats and dog walking. Others assure pet owners ground floor rooms with easy access to sidewalks, trails or paths for dog walking. A few companies publish pet-friendly travel guides and most travel Web sites offer pet-friendly search options.
"The key to traveling comfortably with a pet is preparation," said McConnell. "Make sure your plans include pet-friendly lodging, and try to avoid activities that could be excessively disruptive or threatening to your pet. If you are traveling by airplane, you may need a health certificate, and if you are traveling by car, it is important to properly secure your pet. No matter how you travel, be sure to give your pet easy access to water and regular walks."
Additionally, keep in mind that a foreign environment can present risks for a pet away from home. While traveling, pet owners should avoid drastic changes in their pet's diet or schedule, keep their pet on a leash and always know the location of the closest veterinary clinic during the day and veterinary emergency clinic at night. If the trip includes time in the wilderness, knowledge of area wildlife and any prospective dangers could prevent a costly accident or illness.
One way to help cover a potentially expensive trip to the veterinarian while on vacation is to protect your pet with a VPI Pet Insurance policy. VPI Pet Insurance policies defray pets' medical costs and allow pet owners to use any licensed veterinarian worldwide. Policies are portable and provide pet owners assurance that, no matter what the destination, their pet will receive optimal medical treatment.
"If your pet becomes sick or injured while away from home, it is important to seek treatment right away," said McConnell. "A VPI Pet Insurance policy covers a multitude of treatments and conditions, and can provide pet lovers with peace of mind knowing their pets are protected."